Belarus’ marginalised queer community ‘will still face hatred and violence after Lukashenko’s regime is over’, activist warns

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08/18/2020

A queer activist in Belarus has warned that even if efforts to remove despot Alexander Lukashenko prevail, the country’s LGBT+ community faces a long road to liberation. Belarus has been gripped by protests since the official result of an August 9 election allegedly returned Lukashenko to a sixth term in office, with an overwhelming – but disputed – majority. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (now in exile) claims she is the rightful winner of the vote, with British foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirming the UK does not recognise the “fraudulent” result. Sunday (August 16) saw what local media described as the largest opposition rally “in the history of independent Belarus”, with tens of thousands marching to demand Lukashenko finally relinquish power after 26 years. Among the banners and placards was a rare sight in the notoriously anti-LGBT+ nation: the six-stripe Pride flag.

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